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Why prayer and fasting are more crucial than ever

As the Foursquare family worldwide prepares for 21 Days of Prayer + Fasting, President Glenn Burris Jr. shares why joining together is so important.

Glenn Burris Jr.

The Bible tells us that some issues will not be altered without an intervention by prayer and fasting. That’s the reason I’m writing this.

The strongholds and entanglements of this world often become so powerful that they can only be broken by spiritual disciplines. The church becomes this powerful partner in an all-out spiritual battle, often behind the scenes of all that we see and are experiencing. We literally are standing in the gap between life and death.

I was in somewhat of a shock when the police chief of Los Angeles shared with a few of us that had gathered to welcome him in his new role that over twice as many officers (over a specific period of time) had died from self-inflicted wounds than in the line of duty. The pressure of their role colliding with the pressures of life had overwhelmed them. That’s symptomatic of the world we live in today. The scales of living a balanced life have been tipped.

Even ministers are succumbing to the anxiety and fears that arise when a person has been tasked with bringing health and healing to others. Just recently, a young 30-year-old pastor in Southern California left behind a widow and three small boys after his fight to survive crumbled under the weight of his pressures. This is a tragic result of a world out of balance.

It’s become nearly impossible to escape the confusion, chaos, corruption and craziness around us. But, in the midst of people’s pain and often empty pursuit of purpose, there remains a constant sanctuary of peace, anchored by God Himself. Never has there been a greater need to find this balance in the midst of such imbalance. Never has there been a greater cry for help from people who don’t know how to escape the pain and pressures of life. Never has there been a more important season for the people of God to be able to introduce others to this pathway of peace, restoration and healing. But first, we must learn to walk in it ourselves.

We are called to be His hands extended. The need is great. The time is now.

We’ve been on a four-year journey to highlight the foundational message of the Foursquare movement, that Jesus is our Savior, Baptizer, Healer and King. This coming year is the third year, and our theme will be “Restored by Jesus.” This holistic message is powerfully summed up in I Thessalonians 5:23: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [that is, separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged—consecrated to Him—set apart for His purpose]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and [be found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Amplified Version)

When one constantly gives life away, they will end up in bankruptcy without a constant replenishing of the very life they are sharing. We’re not immune from the rigors of the world we live in. We’re not superheroes. D.T. Niles once said, “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

This coming year, during our 21 Days of Prayer + Fasting, we have been deeply moved to focus on a holistic approach of health and healing. Often, in Pentecostal circles, we have highlighted the physical aspects of the theology of healing. While the physical is one avenue to pursue, we sense the need to step back and pursue Jesus, our high priest:

“Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Heb. 4:14-16, Berean Study Bible

My hope is that we will learn to walk in this wholeness, not just focus on dispensing its truths. We will strengthen the areas that are strained and build up the areas that need support. Then, out of that strength, God will use us to mightily minister to others in need. During our 21 Days of Prayer + Fasting, we will take a week to focus on each aspect of spirit, soul and body. We will share resources and testimonies. We will invite you and others to join in a prayer force to stem the tide of the kingdom of darkness that seeks to undermine and destroy.

Every daily devotional will be available in English and Spanish. At the request of local churches, this will all be available by the end of November so that there will be plenty of time to ask your church to join in and kick off the year with a fresh focus.

Never has there been a more important season for the people of God to be able to introduce others to this pathway of peace, restoration and healing. But first, we must learn to walk in it ourselves.

Nations will join us with thousands reading, praying and fasting. It will be a force to reckon with. We want to disrupt the power of hell. We want to intervene where destruction has been initiated. We want to see healing where damage has been inflicted. We want to declare that Jesus is our Healer, in spirit, soul and body.

I’m excited to announce that, each day, resources will be included in links to assist all of us as we personally experience healing and as we lead others into a new season of health. I want to thank our Communications team for their tireless efforts to serve our leaders and constituents around the world.

We are called to be His hands extended. The need is great. The time is now. Blessings on your journey, and, with every step, may you discover a God who not only creates but regenerates His own. As Matt Chandler wrote:

“Without a heart transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ, we just continue to manage internal and external darkness.”

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is president of The Foursquare Church.
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